Few airlines are doing a decent job but many are providing high calorie junk food to their passengers.
Air travel is considered a pleasant experience overall, but one thing that always troubles a person is the quality of the airline’s food.
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A recent survey reveals that many of the United States' airlines are failing to provide healthy food and they have a long way to go in improving the quality of their food and making it nutritious and low in calories.
"I don't think airlines are keeping up with the trends across the United States, the 'better for you' food trend, the organic trend.” Charles Platkin, a nutrition professor at Hunter College and City University of New York and author of the research said.
Platkin surveyed 12 major US airlines and ranked them on the basis of the healthy food they offer. The survey was focused on the snacks and meals available for economy class passengers on domestic flights and several factors were taken into account such as low-caloric food, healthy food choices and nutritional information shared on their menus to rank airlines.
Research found that a few airlines are doing a decent job in terms of providing healthy food items, yet still there are many that are not doing so.
“The average number of calories per food item was 360 in 2012; in 2013 it was 388; last year 397, and this year it’s 400 (399.96), a 3 calorie increase over last year.” Platkin writes in blog Diet Detective.
Charles Platkin says that airplane food in general contains high levels of sodium. Many airlines serve fewer calories on a tray table than what is required. In addition, many have limited food options for their passengers to make smart choices while some airlines don’t even share nutritional information online or on their flight menus.
Platkin rated Virgin America as the best airline when it comes to healthy food. The airline received 4.5 stars out of 5 for its food offerings, the best out of all airlines surveyed.
“Virgin America is still doing a fantastic job of creating #food and offering strong choices in all categories expect for individual snacks. The airline is still the clear leader when it comes to healthier foods, but they could still do much better on the individual snacks. In fact, all the airlines could do better with their snack choices – there is no clear leader.” Platkin wrote on his blog.
In second and third place are JetBlue and Delta respectively, both have earned 4 stars. All three airlines are also sharing nutritional information for some of their food items as well.
“Following Virgin America there is a tie for second place between JetBlue and Delta, whose foods are comparatively healthier than those of other airlines.”
The worst airline in terms of food quality is Frontier Airlines which earned just 1 out of 5 stars.
“There are no healthy snacks (or meals either)…it would be best to eat before you go, or else you might wind up feeling lethargic and cranky after one of these calorie-heavy meals.” Researcher writes about Frontier Airlines.
Hawaiian and Spirit Airlines are tied on second last place with 1¼ star each as both airlines offer high calorie food to their passenger.
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